As a reading-obsessed writer, there is nothing like a crisis to make you read even more.
The one thing I see is that people are forgetting that everyone is coming into this crisis from a different place.
If this pandemic happened 15 years ago, I would have lost my job, and I would be living by myself in the Bay Area with an expensive rent payment coming due. But I made choices over the past years that have changed my position in the world. I would never have thought that taking a low paying, part-time job would make me an essential worker. Or that now more than ever, people would be wanting to eat local food and learn to cook it.
There are tradeoffs to all of the decisions that we made in the past. Try to think about the fact there are other people on the other side.
You might be alone or you might be stuck with a big family.
You might have lost a job, or you might be working even more hours before.
You might be working at home, or you might still be working on-site, worrying about bringing home the virus.
You might be trying to teach your kids in addition to work, or you might have nothing to do.
You might have money tied up in the stock market, or you might have no money to pay rent next month, even if you do get your stimulus check.
You might live in a place where you can still go outside, or you might not have been out in weeks.
You might be afraid of getting sick, or you might be afraid of getting someone else sick.
In every article I read, the comments are full of angry words from the people on the other side.
Or, at best, words of encouragement from someone that doesn’t know the other person’s situation.
Try this exercise:
Think back to where you were 10–20 years ago, in a different stage of life, what were you doing then.
Were you single or married?
Were you a kid, or did you have kids?
Did you work for yourself or someone else, or not at all?
Would your parents be yelling at you, or would you be yelling at your kids?
What would this stay-at-home order mean to you if you were living in that time of your life?
Now more than ever, we need to have empathy for people on the other side.
When the virus infection cases do slow down, life will not be the same as it was in January.
I might be able to visit my parents, but would I send my child to school, a place that without COVID-19, is already a germ-infested nightmare. Or will my child’s teacher now teach children not to touch each other? (I’m already amazed they manage to get them to sit still for 6 hours.)
Will your company decide that you can permanently work from home, or that they permanently don’t need you?
Can we stop judging others for the choices that they made in a different life?
I’m sure many of us realize that they would have lived their lives differently if they knew what was coming down the pipe. Or at least, stocked up on toilet paper.
I might be lucky today for the choices that I made, or maybe in a month, I will wish that I did something different.
We are all making the best choices we can with the information that we have, or perhaps the information that we want to believe.
But that is all we can do today.
Julie Moreno is a chef and writer, now trying to get more people to cook their own food and understand where it comes from. She lives in the middle of California, where she’s learning to landscape with fruits and vegetables. Find her blog at The Wooden Cutting Board on Twitter @juliehouse and Facebook @thewoodencuttingboard